General Hospital Night Shift’s Ethan Rains

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Ethan RainsEthan Rains shares his passions & projects, including a role on the new season of 24

The summer of 2008 brought a big change into actor Ethan Rains' life. He was recast as Dr. Leo Julian on the second season of General Hospital Night Shift. Rains' brother, Dominic Rains, originally played the role of Leo. Curious about his experience on Night Shift, Soapdom caught up with Rains recently. The always-accommodating actor shared his experiences and brought us up to speed on some of his other recent projects.

Rains was very happy with the material he was given for his character on Night Shift. "It was pretty amazing. I did a lot of work with this character. They gave me such a colorful and layered character and they really gave him a place to go. He became more grounded and accepted his follies in a way. In the beginning there was this arrogant side to him. I think his walls were broken with his love interest," Rains told Soapdom.

Character aside, how did Rains find the experience of doing the popular nighttime soap? "We had a great acting coach who actually helped us out quite a bit. Personally Night Shift was an acting playground. I miss the consistency of the work. I had such a great time with Antonio (Sabato, Jagger) and with Adam (Grimes, Kyle). The cast and crew were just awesome. I looked forward to going to work each day."

So how did Rains feel when the season ended? "You get to know everybody. You get close to the cast and crew and then it's like getting laid off and you have to figure out where to go from there. I didn't know what to do with myself when it was over. It was like all of a sudden the train stopped and I hadn't really reached the destination," Rains shared.

A theater actor at heart, Rains returned to his roots this past summer. In May, Rains returned to Dallas for a couple months and took the stage in the play, Jihad Jones and the Kalashnikov Babes. "I played the role of Ashraf - an Arab American actor in Hollywood who lands a role in a blockbuster. The hitch: its as the most stereo typical evil, fanatical Islamic terrorist ever," Rains told Soapdom.

The play was a Kitchen Dog production. "Kitchen Dog came about from a group of SMU (Southern Methodist University, Rains' alma mater) students who graduated from the theater program many years ago. So I actually did a couple of productions with them and that's how I was introduced to them," Rains told Soapdom.

So how did Rains get involved with this particular Kitchen Dog production? "The artistic director, Tina Parker, offered me the part and once I read it, I immediately connected to it. It hit home for me. Also, I was itching to do a play," he said with enthusiasm.

Was Rains at all intimidated to have the play write on hand for part of the process? "The writer (Yussef El Guindi) was there for three days and it was a week or two weeks into rehearsal. It was just an awkward part of the process. I couldn't tell whether he liked what I was doing or not so that made me a bit paranoid," Rains shared.

The cast of GH Night Shift - Season 2Having read a review that said Rains spent much of the play in his underwear, Soapdom couldn't help but ask if he was uncomfortable or intimidated. "Ok... So it was only the last 20 minutes of the play and I was in my underwear of course with purpose. It definitely wasn't a random act. Although one might think it was random based on the connotation of the play. It was not uncomfortable or intimidating but it was definitely a first timer for me," he said.

Just a few weeks ago, Rains produced a short film called Not Necessary, which he said "tells the story of a 40 year old actress who redeems her career after crashing auditions. It's a satire about Hollywood stereotypes." Rains said the title " implies that acting is not necessary to get the part."

Soapdom couldn't help but be curious as to how Rains got involved in the film. "My best friend, Ped Faraz, wrote the script and we decided to make it a few months ago. I played a small part, but my main job was attached as producer. My brother (Dominic Rains) has a cameo, as well as a very dear friend of mine who was a series regular on Over There and Sleeper Cell. The tone of the film is very much like The Office and Curb Your Enthusiasm. It's actually shot very similar to those two shows. It will be tops 30 min. long, although, at this point I just got the footage and am looking for an editor." Rains shared with enthusiasm. He promised to keep us posted about the status of the film and its success on the festival circuit.

Did Rains enjoy wearing the producer hat? "This was my first time working as producer, and I would definitely love to do it again. It was so exciting having to work on the other side of the camera, working with actors and having creative input viewing the big picture. I was totally in my element operating purely on intuition," he said.

Rains was happy to share even more exciting news with Soapdom. The actor has joined the cast of 24 on a recurring basis. "Right now I've done two episodes of 24 and I'm set to do two more. There might be more (episodes) after that. I play the role of an assassin so I do the dirty work," Rains said. But has the actor had the pleasure of working with Kiefer Sutherland yet? "They say if you work with Kiefer and you're a bad guy, you die. So I'd rather not work with him (laughs). I come in on the ninth episode," he shared.

Rains is also busy working on his art. So when did his interest in art come about? "I used to draw when I was much younger and when I came to the states I entered some drawings into competitions and they won. I was about 14 years old. Then I stopped drawing. About two years ago I was doing this leadership program and I started painting and drawing to pay my way through the program. So I started drawing and selling portraits to my classmates. I started getting inspired. And slowly, bit-by-bit, I started getting ideas. It's a very cool form of meditation for me. It silences my head. Once I finished my (recent) paintings, I stepped back from them and I was overwhelmed," Rains said with enthusiasm.

Rains recent paintings are called The Age of Innocence. Through expressionism, the paintings depict "Middle Eastern women influenced by the norms of their environment." So why does Rains focus his artwork on women? "I'm trying to make sense of women and this is how I do it," Rains laughed. On a serious note, Rains said "I do want to show hope and strength in each one of these women." To see Rains art work, visit his website

Soapdom wishes our friend, Ethan Rains, the best of luck in all of his future projects. Be sure and watch for Rains on the new season of 24 in January. Fans are also welcome to join Rains' official fan page on facebook

Would you like to see a third season of GH Night Shift and Rains in it?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below.